One way or another most of us are prisoners

It’s a struggle for the new chick to peck its way out of the egg. We postmoderns still seeking truth have the same basic problem to solve, but the eggshell is less visible. Make no mistake though we are each inside the thing, struggling to get out, and find out what is on the other side. And then of course we each have to figure out what do next. The good news is that there are a lot of us.

image: Kornerstone Farms

Guest Post: Living Like It Matters

SILVER LININGS IN THE VERY DARK CLOUD OF CLIMATE CATASTROPHE

Elizabeth West

We actually do not have all the time in the world, so I am going to be bold.  What you do after you finish reading this is your business and ultimately, that is exactly as it should be. We may all be facets of a larger Oneness, tiny sparks of the Divine dwelling in human form, but for the moment—allowing the potential truth of a larger connection–we are very clearly individuals, each with our own experience and outlook. We have our own ways of coping and to some extent, each of us charts a unique course through this life. We are often granted some choice about how we live and how we die, though most of us vastly prefer to focus on the former.  

Even there, we tend to let life happen, getting pulled from one urgency to another amusement without full consciousness of how we spend the time. “Where did the time go?” is a plaintive query, often-expressed. “Time flies!” When you are having fun, when you are busy, when you aren’t fully present.  Life happens to us  more often than most of us would like to admit.  But still, we can always meet it–our life—where we find it today and choose differently how we experience the flow of time, how we interact with the circumstances we have been given and crafted for ourselves.  Such is the beauty of being alive. Continue reading “Guest Post: Living Like It Matters”

The clutter of a life

The older I get the less I enjoy having stuff.  When we moved three years ago it was shocking to find how much stuff we had accumulated, and how much work it took to pack and move it.  It took months and yet there are still boxes waiting to be unpacked.  Every so often I attack them; sorting, repacking and deciding what things I want to keep or to give away.  Years of accumulating things has begun to feel more and more like an anchor around my neck.

Continue reading “The clutter of a life”

Environmental awareness

A recent article got me thinking about our contact with the natural world.  After reading more about the Social Justice Movement and in particular Extinction Rebellion I agree with one of the commenters that  “the left is on an ideological crusade to promote its doctrines and that the climate change issue is merely an opportunistic vehicle to do so”.  It isn’t that I don’t agree there are social justice issues that need confronting, but I think there is a danger when political groups use the issue of climate change as a reason to promote social revolution.  I agree, “we need to confront the material, scientific and institutional causes of climate change”, and I don’t see how we can do that if our rebellion isn’t about climate change.  I believe the way to confront climate change is with more environmental awareness.

Continue reading “Environmental awareness”

Whiplash & the Breath of the Sea

Last week was tough in a way that I hadn’t expected.

I had two events to go to: the first, a climate change conference put on by our state’s climate change commission, and the second, an agricultural bank board meeting.  It was unexpectedly tough to think about the world  in such disparate ways within a few days of each other.  Tough to reconcile their differences, or not to reconcile but bear those differences when they were not reconcilable.  That was the hardest part and it took a toll on me.

There were two different visions of the world that undergirded these two different meetings, two different ideological positions that were the common, unspoken background of most of the attendees at each meeting, and two different set of blindspots. Continue reading “Whiplash & the Breath of the Sea”

My father’s death

My father died on Dec. 24th and my husband and I returned to Minnesota for his funeral.  At 87 he had lived a long and full life.  It seemed like he went “downhill” very fast.  In the last two years each time I saw him I couldn’t believe the changes.  In some ways I feel fortunate that the end of his life came relatively quickly.  He lived to a “ripe old age” and enjoyed his life almost up to the very end.  We were fortunate that a family wedding last August brought most of our family together in celebration and my father’s health was still good enough to share in it.  The picture above of my father was the one taken last August and the one we used at the funeral.  When the end came it came relatively quickly, although I know it didn’t feel that way to my mother or sisters who sat by his side for four days.

His memorial service was a beautiful celebration of his life. It was held at the small Lutheran church that our family attended most of my life.  It was bitter sweet.  The church was filled with people and many of them came up to me to offer condolences.  They would often say “You probably don’t remember me…” and all too often I didn’t.  Many people I hadn’t seen for years, even decades,  but their words always touched me.  Their stories brought tears and laughter.  They all thought so much of my father.   How can one explain what it means to belong to a community?  These were my people.  I was Bob’s daughter.  I belonged.  Somehow sharing with each of them it felt as if the emptiness I was feeling was filled.  The hole in my heart that I wasn’t expecting…was somehow filled. These people in one way or another made me feel that my father was important.  His life mattered and by extension …my life mattered.

How absolutely essential it is to belong in community.  Our roots go deep and our soil is enriched because our father tended it.  He wasn’t perfect.  Nor are we.  But we would not be who we are if not for him.  To me he was my idol because I was the proverbial “daddy’s girl”.  He was my first teacher and I learned so much from him.  I would not be who I am without his influence.  We belong to a family within this community.  My mother, my siblings, my nieces and nephew, their spouses, their children…we gathered together as family.  We cried, we laughed, we hugged, we looked at pictures, and we hoisted our drinks.  We came together as family. This is a time when you feel we are more than just individual people living our separate lives.

I could feel my father’s spirit and I know he was smiling.  I thought “Look what you started dad. Look what you left behind.” I could feel his approval and his love.  His spirit was with us. The mystery of life came full circle, we are born, we live and reproduce, we die…the way we only hope it can be.  We all hope we can live a long and full life and in the end to know it is our time, to know that we were part of something larger than our self.

A week before he died my sister asked him about death. “Are you ready?” His answer was straight forward. “Yes. I’m pretty sure I am. ” Can we hope for more than that?

Anima Monday

Happy New Year everyone!

I have been super remiss in not giving a shout-out to the amazingly talented folks at Anima Monday, which I like to think of as a sister-blog. (I’ve been super distracted, more on that later.)  I’m in love with all of them over there.  Go visit now!

This week they have posted an interview with Emma Restall Orr, whose book, The Wakeful World,  takes animism to the gladiator ring of Western philosophy in the Academy.  Not for the faint of heart, such an endeavor!  And Orr does it admirably, with heart as well as intellectual rigor.

But the contributors to Anima Monday are her equal in their wild, fierce, generous, and humble insights into what it means to live in this world, fully alive, fully present, and in love with life, in all its glory and pain.

Animists of the world unite!  🙂

 

The religion of American Politics

image: Apostle St. Simon the Zelot

When are we willing to fight for our views?  Simon the Zelot was a disciple of Jesus.  He advocated aggression with the Romans.  He literally fought for his views.  I find it odd that Simon was one of the twelve disciples because Jesus seemed very much against violence (unless one considers the story of the  money changers in the temple!)  Politically I consider myself a moderate independent and normally I do not view political views something to fight over…disagree certainly, but this does not include violence!

Continue reading “The religion of American Politics”

Full Cold Moon Solstice

the pendulum swings to the end of its travel

the shortening of days slows and stops

the full cold moon lights the world

the wind briefly holds its breath

the tides come full and stop

a moment of absolute calm

to breathe, to be present

before beginning again

the high holy night